In Lebanon, the break is consumed between the street and the president

Michel Aoun aroused renewed anger among the protesters after the insulting comments he made in an interview.

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A photograph of Lebanese president Michel Aoun pinned on barbed wire, on the road leading to the presidential palace in Baabda, on the heights of Beirut, on 13 November. ANWAR AMRO / AFP

This is called a failure. By granting a filmed interview to journalists from the Lebanese press on Tuesday, November 12, after two speeches in which he appeared stiff and stiff, the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, hoped, if not to reason the street, at least to catch his attention. But his words had the opposite effect.

Unable to conceal his annoyance at the protesters, the 84-year-old former general led to a further hardening of the protest movement. All day Wednesday, hundreds of people came to shout their anger near the presidential palace, located in Baabda, on the heights of Beirut. The roadblocks, which had stopped more than a week ago, have begun again, causing clashes that have killed one dead Tuesday night in the suburbs of the capital.

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The protesters felt personally insulted by a passage of the interview where the head of state declares that "If they are not happy with the people in power, they can emigrate". This formula, very unwelcome in a country marked by the forced uprooting of its young, obliged to expatriate to find a job, devotes the break between the street and the octogenarian leader.

"Is it permissible for a president to tell his people: "Get the hell out of here" ? " protests Ghada, an unemployed forty-year-old who came to Baabda to protest, one of whose daughters recently went to study in France. "Aoun, who fought for thirty years to get his job, ruined his credibility in an hour", says Yasser, a journalist.

"All those people who do their best"

During the interview, as during his three previous interventions since the beginning of the crisis, the former head of the Lebanese army made sure to understand the complaints of the protesters, including their aspiration to the rule of law, purged of all corruption . But he rejected their founding claim, the formation of a government composed exclusively of independent technocrats, claiming that a mixed cabinet, "Techno-political", had his favor.

"Where can I get them? (these independents)? On the moon ?, he quipped. Are there any Lebanese who are not affiliated with any political party? " This position coincides with that of its main ally, the Shiite Hezbollah movement, which fears the expense of a neutral executive, where it would not be represented. It opens the way to a maintenance of power of his son-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the beast of Lebanese rebels.

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